EPA grants $1.5 million to Hawaiʻi County to expand recycling in Hilo

Listen to this Article
3 minutes
Loading Audio... Article will play after ad...
Playing in :00

The US Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday it has awarded $2.2 million in grants to Hawaiʻi for a recycling project in Hilo and a study of waste management across several islands.

The funding is from a new grant program authorized by the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act, part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

A $1.5 million grant went to Hawaiʻi County’s Department of Environmental Management to design and implement a city-scale, reusable foodware and refillable bottle system in Hilo.

Funding will be used for reuse collection bins, transport vehicles and crates and totes, a dishwashing machine, reuse infrastructure installation, QR code scanners and a technology platform to support asset tracking and management.

According to the grant, the project management, community engagement and technical expertise work is already funded through philanthropic grants.


This project is expected to result in 1 million uses of reusable foodware in place of disposable foodware and reduction of disposable foodware by 500 tons annually. It also is expected to create five management jobs and 10 to 20 operation jobs.

For more information about the project, click here.

“Our collective efforts are paving the way for a greener and more resilient Hawaiʻi Island, where every citizen actively contributes to the preservation of our environment and sustainability of our island home,” Hawaiʻi Island Mayor Mitch Roth said.

A $673,000 grant was awarded to the Hawaiʻi Department of Health for a study on Maui, Lānaʻi, Molokaʻi and one other island to identify, measure and quantify solid waste streams —and conduct outreach on the findings to inform state and local waste reduction priorities.

Rep. Ed Case (D-HI) said this grant will help Hawaiʻi achieve its goal of reusing or recycling 70% of its waste by 2030.


This grant also will enable the state Department of Health to conduct data collection activities in landfills on the islands of Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i and at other underserved locations, said Kathleen HO, deputy director of environmental health at the department.

For more information about this grant, click here.

The EPA selected 25 communities nationwide to receive grants totaling more than $73 million under first round of funding of the newly created Solid Waste Infrastructure for Recycling funding opportunity.

In addition, the agency is providing about $32 million for states and territories to improve solid waste management planning, data collection and implementation of plans.

The grants support the implementation of EPA’s National Recycling Strategy to build an economy devoted to keeping materials, products and services in circulation for as long as possible – what’s known as a “circular economy.”


EPA’s Solid Waste Infrastructure for Recycling Grant Program is also advancing President’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to ensure that 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved and overburdened by pollution.

Approximately $56 million out of the $73 million (76% ) will go toward projects that benefit disadvantaged communities.

“These innovative local government, territory and state grants will solve zero waste challenges across the Pacific Southwest,” said Martha Guzman, the EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator. 

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) said: “Advancing sustainable waste management and reducing the use of single-use plastics will reduce the burden of waste on our environment and advances the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to building healthy communities.”

Sponsored Content

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily or weekly
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Big Island Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments